Extract from a speech by Executive Mayor Dr Danny Jordaan at a packed Gelvandale Stadium during the local Youth Day 40th Commemoration on 16 June 2016:
Firstly let me say thank you to the programme director Maria Hermans, the leadership from the interfaith group and those prayers, members of the Mayoral Committee, members of the African National Congress present here and we have many leaders here, members from the youth structures and the leader of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro Youth, Comrade Xolani Mgxoteni who just spoke, members of the media, comrades and friends. We are here to celebrate a remarkable contribution of young people in our country. It is because of them that we can gather here today. It is because of them that we can go on the 3rd of August and participate in a democratic election. This country went through many trials and tribulations, the Defiance Campaign of the 1950’s, the dark days of the 1960’s, the Rivonia Trial after the Sharpeville Massacre. Many of our leaders were exiled and imprisoned, Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada and many others, and so the Apartheid government at that time believed that they had successfully crushed the liberation movement. So historians talk about the sixties as the silent sixties, believing it was the end of the liberation struggle, but in the seventies two things happened. Firstly Steve Biko formed the South African Students Organisation and on the 16 June 1976, a new militant, determined, fearless fighters, people who took up the issue of education and Afrikaans as the language of instruction in particular to ignite new hope and put us on the final and decisive path to liberation and freedom, and the youth of this country since 1976, never stopped until the day when Nelson Mandela finally walked out of prison in 1990.
And so we are gathered here to celebrate the youth of 1976 and let that be a reminder to the youth today that fundamental change in our metro, in our country is your burden that you have to carry. It is the democratic, non-racial, non-sexist South Africa that we’ve achieved through the struggle of the youth and the youth must take up that struggle again, the struggle against unemployment, against HIV and AIDS, loss of job opportunities for the youth. And so we need the youth today to recommit to those challenges that we are going to undertake together in the metro. So what are we going to do as a metro? During the 21st of June we are having a business summit in this metro to engage the youth and youth stakeholders to participate in business through SMME’s and other business opportunities, so remember the Business Summit on the 21st of June. From 22nd June to 24th June, we have the Youth Dialogue in the clusters and these dialogues include Arts and Activism, the economy, leadership, education, social cohesion and sport. We want to engage you, the youth in building a metro that takes care of all of you. We have the music festival and poetry on the 25th of June 2016. And on the 29th of June we are sending our youth to participate in the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. Also, we are going to have a Youth Assembly and a Memorial Lecture on the 30th of June 2016.
We want your participation because we know you are the change that we need to deal with drugs, gangsterism and crime. In the Northern Areas we have approved a budget of over R200 million that we are going to invest in the Northern Areas. It is the biggest amount ever that this metro has committed to the Northern Areas. And there is only one political party that voted against you getting the R200 million. You can go down the alphabet and you will get them. I think it is the third or the fourth letter of the alphabet. Regardless of that we are here as the African National Congress and as a Mayor of this Metro to say we understand where we come from. We understand the struggles of our people, we understand we are products of the Group Areas Act, the destruction of our houses. We understand those pains. It is time to correct it. We need the youth. We need to work with you.
This day is to celebrate not just past achievements of the youth, those heroes of 16 June 1976, but we are here to see the commitment of the youth on the 16th of June 2016 to create the five golden years in this Metro because five years later you are not going to be twenty anymore, you are going to twenty-five. If you are twenty-five you are going to be thirty and if you are thirty you are going to thirty-five. So the next five years is crucial for the youth. So we want you to be participants. I see that a young lady says she is going to stay young. She is not going to have birthdays. You are getting old even if you do not celebrate your birthday. We need you and we are very happy that you turned up in your numbers saying we want to be part of the economic transformation of our metro. We want to be part of the process to really tackle the issues of crime, gangsterism and drugs.
We want to deal with the fundamental issue of creating jobs for the youth. Let us continue to work together. Let us see you at the Business Summit, let us see you at the cluster engagement. Let’s see you in all the areas and whether it is the ocean economy, the township economy, the creative economy, agriculture, the automotive sector. We want youth participation and youth involvement.
I am very happy that the Helenvale Youth leader was here to speak. We are going to engage with all the other youth formations throughout the Northern Areas and throughout the Metro from here to Malabar to Motherwell, Kwanobuhle right through and it is Xolani Mgxoteni’s job to make sure that there is a strong organised formation of the youth so that we can march together. This is our commitment to you and your commitment to us.
Thank you very much